Could the future bring less regional jets?


I just pictured the airline industry without regional aircraft, so even short flights like DEN-COS would be like 757 or larger equipment instead of a Q400 or CRJ-200.

A better view would be that there is not RJ’s or aircraft under 50 seats to be considered small.

This would probably NEVER happen…who knows :open_mouth: :confused:


From the industry “experts” I’ve heard from and worked with, the answer is yes there will be a world with many less regional jets. However that does not mean you should expect to see large aircraft operating on small routes, it means those routes will disappear. With the current trend, it is predicted by 2020 many cities and airports will lose service, especially those that do not and can not sustain service of at least 100 seat aircraft.

Just a year ago Delta pulled out of 24 communities, many of which had been served by Northwest through Mesaba for many years. Some found new service through Great Lakes Airlines, or even American Eagle in a few cities, but a few others are still waiting to find a replacement, even with the Essential Air Service program. Even then, that program is constantly just one congressional vote away from being eliminated.


Thanks for your reply (davysims!)


If that forecast holds up the regional industry will have just about come full circle.
Following WWII the minor, and some major, airlines grabbed up the CV 440’s and opened markets all over the US.
Back when I started flying commuter airlines were independent airlines operating under part 135 having ticketing agreements with numerous major airlines while flying Piper Navajo’s and Beech 99’s. Along came Beech 1900’s and Metroliners followed by consolidation and exclusive agreements with one major airline. Fast forward 20 years and we see Bombardier and Embraer building airplanes that are essentially the modern version of what they replaced along with the higher operating costs that eventually drove the DC-9’s to the desert. Today we see the hit of the early 1990’s, the CRJ-200, being basically a break even airplane with the choice of new 19 seat turboprops being non-existent. As the larger Brasilia’s and Saab 340’s are retired there is no replacement suitable for the smaller markets. Even with subsidies Great Lakes can’t operate the 1900’s forever.


Are you saying Great Lakes would go out of business or get larger aircraft?


I don’t have any particular insight on GL, could go either way. I know they have a few Brasilia’s. Short of getting new -8’s or ATR’s there is no current replacement for either the 1900’s or Brasilia’s.


The newer turboprops on the market are all 50 seats or greater, which don’t qualify well for EAS subsidized routes. As for what GL or other operators like them will do in the future, that is anyone’s guess. No manufacturer has said anything about getting back into the 19-30 seat market, as there just isn’t enough demand. My biggest hope is that Beech, since the King Air line is still in production, could find a way to make batches of 1900s to fill the void.